Friday, October 27, 2006

sacred life - part 1

Friday, October 27, 2006
ok. i'm thinking about life, euthanasia, abortion, end-of-life issues. they're on my mind. because i've contemplated alot lately the life sanctity, its sacredness. i guess i'm trying to juxtapose the spiritual with the corporeal. its challenging. what follows is my attempt to detangle all the convolutions about life and the purpose of suffering that currently press on my psyche and my heart. its written in the 3rd person, which afforded me the ability to get some things off my chest. its sort of a stream of consciousness poured onto the screen. so, forgive me if clarity seems lacking. it all makes sense to me. hoping it does to you too. please, share any constructive thoughts or feelings in a comment. i'm curious about what anyone thinks and feels. i wonder, does anyone else think of this stuff?


she struggles. she wrestles. with the concept of LIFE. what constitutes life? she realizes the question sounds ridiculous. so much so as to seem flip. but ... she wonders. what does constitute life? she feels g-d. she innately knows him. and sees the soul as a spark of g-d. an animating force. housed - on this plane of existence - within a decaying shell - the human body. the soul - a life force.

she wonders, still. what constitutes life? animation? does animation constitute life? does cognition constitute life? where does the soul go, when a person lies unconscious? when a person cannot express itself tangibly? can life support really keep a vibrant sacred soul in a failed shell? and what of conception? has the fusion of two souls, during sexual intercourse, miraculously produced a third? does this occur at the moment of fertilization? she surmises for herself that it must. it simply must. and so ... yes, she believes, at her core, that life begins at the moment of conception. the presence of a living soul does not necessarily coincide with the presence of cognitive awareness. she innately feels this truth. the presence of a living soul only coincide's with g-d's breath.

but still she struggles. with existing. with existing while honoring life. while honoring humanity. while battling suffering. she wonders, in a reserved thought whether suffering fulfills a purpose. or whether suffering simply exists as the cummulative result of humanity's choices. it does not seem clear. and that's why she wrestles. and does it seem related to the issue of life? well, yes. in her convulted mind it does.

she questions her previous mode of thinking. which basically placed the relief of suffering above the sanctity of life. which placed the sanctity of humanity above the sacredness of life. she believes that every occurence has a cosmic purpose. including suffering. even though suffering to her seems the spawn of humanity, knowledge and free will. she believes. and at times it seems an insurmountable standard of existence. but she believes. she knows. she thinks of how the sacredness of life ... the sanctity of humanity ... and presence of suffering have carved her life.

she remembers thinking about her youngest son. about how she felt, at the lowest points of her life with him. about how she chose to feed her despair by saying she felt it better to have only had one 'normal' child, instead of one 'normal' child and one 'defective' child. yes, she feels mild shame, at disclosing to you, dear reader, that, at times, she wished she'd never had him. and, that she deliberately chose the word 'defective.' s opposed to 'special.' and, ironically, now that she no longer has that second, special child to love, her soul admonishes her for feeding her despair and bitterness. and for starving her love and compassion.

every fibre of her being knows that abortion does terminate life. she feels, at the core of her femininity, that no woman has the right to chose abortion. she feels that, rather, women have a responsibility to harness their creative - ie life-giving - powers with respect, wisdom, and love. as opposed to lust, greed and self-gratification. however, she wrestles, here, too. she wonders, about the sanctity of a life conceived in the throes of violence ... of utter disrespect ... of fear ... of violation. she wonders - what if the girl did not chose? and ... what if she trusted, and that trust got betrayed? does a life produced in violence and violation, in an act of abuse, hold any sanctity? she wonders ... does it constitute murder, when a girl chooses to abort a life created during such an act of violence? she tells herself that it does not. she must believe it. for her own psyche, she must. but she does not know if she can believe it.

she wonders. if that's why she spent so much her sanity in a career that saves life. she wonders if its her attempt at some sort of cosmic repetence. to try to add life. to make up for the one she took. she also wonders, does it work that way? and she wonders. didn't her father violate life, too? she surely believes he dishonored humanity.

and she wonders. about 'honoring thy mother and father,' she wonders. does it matter what parents do? does g-d still want her to honor her father? despite what he did? and her mother? for standing by and never fighting to protect her children? she feels that, yes, she must still honor these parents. she cannot ever touch her father. or allow him to touch her. but her soul tells her she must honor him. and her soul feels only mercy and sorrow for her mother. and love. and yes, honor too.

she wonders. and wrestles.
with herself. with life. with angels.
and she feels the warm hand of g-d
touch her, at her core.

images originally uploaded by loswl and ivory illusion

7 comments:

Haystack said...

Intense & thought-provoking post...what constitutes life? Change, is one answer that comes to mind. When things go stagnant, I don't really feel as if I am living.
can life support really keep a vibrant sacred soul in a failed shell? Tethered maybe. I beleive the soul has an umbilical cord, if you will, to the body & that it can be stretched very, very thin forming a line between life & death. Life Support, to me, could keep this thread or line intact but pulled so very thin that the soul really is removed from any other proximity to the body...
I'd have to agree life begins at conception, when the changes begin to immediately take place, but I do question the development of the soul.
she wonders, in a reserved thought whether suffering fulfills a purpose. or whether suffering simply exists as the cummulative result of humanity's choices
Perhaps both and some.
at times, she wished she'd never had himWhen times are hard & things are strained, we all wish for the things which would seemingly ease those burdens.
does a life produced in violence and violation, in an act of abuse, hold any sanctity? Perhaps, all life at all ages & stages is given only as much sanctity as we, as a people & as individuals, give it.
she wonders. didn't her father violate life, too? If we all look at ourselves, one some level or another we have all violated the sanctity of life, im my opinion. That's what makes us human, the contemplation of such notions make us humane...
and she wonders. about 'honoring thy mother and father,' I had to consult my 1971 Random House dictionary to clarify my thoughts on this...there were 13 definitions.
1.high respect or esteem
2.fame or glory
3.honesty in one's beleifs
4.source of good repute
5.the priviledge of receiving a favor
6.title of respect (judges)
7.rank for outstanding student
8.revere
9.to confer honor upon
10.to accept a bill/to pay
11.to accept repsonsibility for ones actions/work
12.to show respect
13.to act as host or hostess
I guess first we would need to clarify the definition of honor here. I beleive that there is something positive somewhere in all of our relationships, even if it is just to show us what we should beware or be wary of.
Sorry so long, I could go on, as you have a very thought-provoking post here...things I, too, have wondered.
Thanks for reminding me to keep looking for the good stuff...

Haystack said...

but I do question the development of the soul. that is to stay I beleive it grows too & is not an instant thing, upon fertilization.

Behind Blue Eyes said...

I was raised free from religion though I attended sunday school etc....my home was not a particularly religious one. I can't go to church now because I have my own interpretations of what the bible means and I don't believe what they believe, therefore it is pointless for me to go. It is meaningless to me as well. I usually take the bible more as 'wisdoms' then rules. Honor thy mother and father....even if they don't particularly deserve it. I suppose it is because they live inside of you and if you don't find some kind of respect for them you will never respect yourself. At least that is how I feel about my parents. However, my parents have done nothing henious. If they did.....I don't know? I see people who are 'evil' more as weak people than as powerful people. Most people that I have known that treated me bad (not all though), I have ended up somehow being sorry for them....in the sense that they weren't whole people and didn't know what it was like to be whole. At least I know how to be that which is more than they will probably never know. However, even if I felt sorry for them at some level, I still wanted nothing more to do with them. But again, nothing completely henious has ever happened to me...at the hands of my parents.

I'm reading a physics book right now. It is the most amazing book. It is about the origin of the galaxy. It is called Parallel Worlds. In it, Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that it is impossible for him to believe that the universe was not created by something intelligent. I have to say that this is how I feel,even more so as I have been reading it. He also said that he doesn't think that it concerns itself with us. That is what I fear. I'm not sure if he/she/it/other cares or not. I wish it did! In the book, the author tells of a scene from The Hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy. He talks about a curtain that has a sign above it to the affect that anyone who sees what is behind the curtain will lose their mind. So when you went behind the curtain there was a map of the entire galaxy with a little sign pointing and saying "you are here." Ha! the world is infinitely complex. The men and women who have figured out the things that they have are beyond me. I'm just not that smart.

Probably my biggest 'religious' principle is that I don't think that I should ever try to act like I, or my religion (if I had one) or whatever is the truth. So in keeping with that principle I can only speculate on what the answers to your questions might be. I feel it would be a conceit for me to try to say that I know. I guess mostly I believe in kindness, but I try not to blame myself unnecessarily when I am not able to live up to my own expectations...which are probably unreasonably high sometimes. so, abortion in my eyes isn't right, though people can be forgiven for doing it, euthanasia could be...depending on the situtation. I actually hope that I will never find myself in any of the ethical situations that you describe and if I were, I hope that I would know what to do.

mantissa said...

myhaystack - thanx for your thoughts. i like you idea of the soul ... growing.

mantissa said...

blue eyes - nice to see you.

about einstein ... yes i have heard that - it does make one wonder. i have to believe that g-d does care about us.

about religion - yes, the arrogant truth thing does grate on me.

thanx for weighing in on this - its complicated stuff. i've reached the conclusion that its the hardest thing to honour the sanctity of life.

Mayden' s Voyage said...

There is so much I want to say here- to you...I almost feel as if I need to write a rough draft first- but I won't. Like you, I am going to start with what bubbles up inside me first- the questions I've been wanting to ask for over 24 hours...

(and everything said here- is with tenderness, and a kind tone...no judgement...no speculation...with peace and grace extended in full measure)

Why do we beat ourselves over our insufficencies?
Why, oh why- when placed in a life altering and debilitating position- do we loathe ourselves when we falter, or fail?

Is there no honor in admiting our weaknesses or fears? No honor in saying, "I can not do this any more...someone else must step in."
No honor in being Honest?

My youngest brother- born when my parents were almost 40, is disabled. He is now 20. My parents were done having kids- this one was not planned.
My mom, who is 56- is now almost completely disabled. She never took care of herself- with all the care she put into J. I will lose her in less than 10 years- I know I will. The neuropathy from her unchecked diabetes has eaten away at nerve endings in her feet, hands, stomach, and brain. She is only 19 years older than me.

I won't voice my opinions about where J would have been best cared for...but my moms life has been drastically shortened.
Somewhere along the way her life, my life, all of my other siblings, were deemed somewhat less valuable than the one who will never have a vocabulary above 18 months.
I love my brother- and he dear to all of us- but a heavy price has been paid. If I were in the same position- knowing what I know now- I don't know if I could do it...and I certainly would not find fault in someone who was honest about what they can and can not do.

The same is true with abortion- though I lament it is a choice that women and men make...it's been being made for thousands of years.
In Rome there was a pit- and babies up to several weeks (maybe months) could be discarded into it if they were unfit, or unhealthy...

Did the babe have a soul? Only God knows...and the only saving grace, as I believe it to be, is that if a soul was present- it is now with God. It will not suffer again...the mom will most likely not be as lucky.

In the Holy text we are told to honor our parents- but is there no distinction between a parent and a monster?
We are repeatedly shown, by God's own example, how a father is to treat his children.
Of course fathers are human and have faults...and those fathers admit those faults, apologize, and work to be better.
Real fathers do not bring atrocious harm to their children. A monster is not a father, and a father is not a monster.

What would you call someone who hurt a friend in a similar way?

You know that hate only damages you. It does nothing to anyone else directly, except upset the balance of peace and joy in your home.
I don't know friend how to let that go without divine help.

Forgiveness brings healing- not to the predator...but to YOU.
I don't say that lightly.

Your life is sacred.
You are both flesh and spirit and of great value.
You are worthy of honor, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, gentleness and love-

sometime I wrestle (about myself) over that.

Travel well- be safe...thoughts and prayers go out ahead of you.
They really do~

-Cora :)

mantissa said...

dear cora;

many thanx for the lovely spirit that you always seem to leave in your comments.

the story of your brother i understand. oh so well. it was exactly why we made the decision we did. to protect the child that did, indeed, have potential for growth and independence. we look back and know we did choose the choice of love, and not fear.

i can say now, that i do not regret making the choice i made ... neither does my husband ... to give our son up when it became clear he was absorbing us entirely and to the point of destruction.


a similar thing happened with my moms family - her parents made a choice to look after the oldest boy, who was severely mentally ill. looking back the choice was not an optimal one - the other 4 children basically experienced what you described in your family. sad, when parents cannot love enough give their children up to what they need to thrive and grow.

about parents ... it is a question i have. honestly. and ... well ... i think of 'love your enemies as yourself' ... and well, even if one considers a father who has committed monstrosities an enemy, one still must give basic human respect.

i guess that's sort of related to forgiveness - the surrender of it all - just letting go of the outrage at having been wounded.

that's where i'm at. i keep my distance. stay respectful. and don't let him touch me. not even a hug. its difficult. but ... i really feel that's g-d's wish. to keep the connection alive, albeit distant.

i used to feel such anger ... hatred perhaps too. but i don't anymore. just ... a pinch of sadness for what never was. like - a grieving for what i missed.

thank you, dear mayden, for your thoughts and prayers.